Thursday, August 31, 2006

Cleaning Up Rockwood Park

The following is a guest post by Joseph Bernardo, CD13 Field Deputy for Historic Filipinotown

Los Angeles’ development throughout the 20th Century allowed the city to grow from a small pueblo to a bustling metropolis, emerging onto the national scene as one of the nation’s, and the world’s, foremost urban areas. However, along with this tremendous growth came some unintended consequences and negative impacts on the environment in and around the city. Today, we are working to clean up those areas. One of the major emphases on tainted lands throughout the country has been on “brownfields,” which, by definition, are properties whose expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.

The Rockwood Park site in Historic Filipinotown is home to one of these brownfields, as abandoned oil extraction wells have a history of releasing small amounts of methane and hydrogen sulfide. The Department of Recreation and Parks has announced the acquisition of all three parcels constituting the park, the first step in moving towards cleaning up the property and making it once again an open space for the community to share in. The city’s Environmental Affairs Department (EAD) will be working with the US Environmental Protection Agency to find funding to clean up Rockwood. The improvements will include asbestos and lead paint abatement and hazardous materials remediation. Once these developments are complete, Rockwood will become home to a pocket park, a place where children and families can come to play and enjoy the open space.